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[image]Changing its Spots
SDO took a closer look as a barely emerging sunspot group really grew and mushroomed into a large sunspot group over less than three days (Jan. 6-8, 2012). Sunspots are almost always changing, but the speed of growth here was quite striking. Sunspots are cooler, darker regions generated by magnetic forces beneath the Sun's surface. They are often the source for solar storms, although this particular group did not produce any major storms...
Downloads: 212
[image]Burst around the Corner
The Sun erupted with a good-sized solar flare and a coronal mass ejection (CME) on its far-side beyond the view of SDO, but the resulting strands of particle clouds as seen in extreme ultraviolet light still made for quite a show that lasted about three hours (Jan. 2, 2012). Note how a portion of the strands fall back to the Sun. It appears the force of the blast was unable, for some portion of the material, to overcome the pull of the Sun's magnetic fields...
Downloads: 236
[image]Boisterous Active Region -- Close Up
An energetic active region spewed forth dozens of outbursts during just a 36-hour (Dec. 29-30, 2011) period as viewed in extreme ultraviolet light. The largest solar storm was a medium-sized flare and coronal mass ejection, each indicated by a signature brightest white flash (about half way through the video clip and shown in the still) followed immediately by a darker spout of plasma. Magnetic forces were violently pulling against each other, creating the frenetic activity...
Downloads: 69
[image]Comet Lovejoy Grazes the Sun (and Survives)
Comet Lovejoy skimmed across the Sun's edge about 140,000 km above the surface late Dec. 15 and early Dec. 16, 2011, furiously brightening and vaporizing as it approached the Sun. It is the brightest sungrazing comet that SOHO has ever seen, with a nucleus about twice as wide as a football field. It unexpectedly survived the pass and cruised out from behind the Sun some hours later. Comets are ancient balls of dust and ice...
Downloads: 65
[image]Like Painting on the Sun's Layers
The images of this Sun (Dec. 7, 2011) taken at almost the same time are shown in various wavelengths in various temperatures and layers of the Sun. In addition, we superimposed an illustration of the Sun's magnetic field lines to the view. We start off looking at the 6,000 degrees C. photosphere that shows the various sunspots on the "surface" of the Sun. Then we transition into the region between the chromosphere and the corona, at about 1 million degrees C...
Downloads: 51
[image]Letting Loose
A mass of swirling plasma rose up above the Sun, twisted and turned for almost a day, then broke away in to space (Nov. 29-30, 2011). The close up still and video clip in extreme ultraviolet light from SDO show material (at 90,000 degrees F.) near an active region being buffeted and pulled by magnetic forces. Two other active regions (lighter areas nearer the center and also lower left) show some good dynamic activity as well.
Downloads: 39
[image]Breakaway Prominence
A long, solar prominence that rotated into view almost two weeks ago finally became disorganized and broke away into space forming a nifty large loop as it did (Nov. 21-23, 2011). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) watched in extreme ultraviolet light as the magnetic forces that tethered it in place gradually became unstable, the prominence began to crumble, and eventually lifted off. The Sun is becoming more active as it approaches the solar maximum expected in 2013.
Downloads: 34
[image]Swirling Plasma
This close-up view of a prominence reveals magnetic forces at work as they pull plasma strands this way and that before it gradually breaks away from the Sun over a one-day period (Nov. 14-15, 2011). The activity was observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light. This prominence activity is not uncommon, especially now that the Sun's overall level of activity is increasing towards its peak expected around mid-2013.
Downloads: 38
[image]Big Spot Front and Center
Probably the largest sunspot (1339) that we have observed in several years has rotated to the center of the Sun (Nov. 6-8, 2011) as viewed by the SDO where effects from solar storms could possibly be felt here at Earth. This large sunspot is accompanied by a good many smaller sunspots as well. It has already blasted out several medium- to large-sized solar flares and has the potential to hurl out more...
Downloads: 34
[image]Triumvirate Coming Around
One large and two good-sized, energetic active regions were rotating into view (Nov. 1-2, 2011). Note how the magnetic connection between the upper two areas clearly begin to reach over and interact with each other. Above them, the magnetic field lines, made visible in extreme ultraviolet light by particles spiraling along them, rise out and loop back to the Sun, constantly changing their structures...
Downloads: 1
[image]Solar Spicules Create Energy
These jets, known as spicules, were captured in an SDO image on April 25, 2010. Combined with the energy from ripples in the magnetic field, they may contain enough energy to power the solar wind that streams from the sun toward Earth at 1.5 million miles per hour. Credit: NASA/SDO/AIA › Link to associated news item
Downloads: 2
[image]Spectacular Solar CME on 06.07.2011
The Sun unleashed an M-2 (medium-sized) solar flare, an S1-class radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) on June 7, 2011. The large cloud of particles mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface as this image, taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows. › Link to related news item
Downloads: 5
[image]Sun Blasts a M6.6 Flare
On Feb. 13th at 1738 UT, sunspot 1158 unleashed the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M6.6-category blast. Image captured by Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), AIA at 304 angstrom.
Downloads: 7
[image]Hole in the Sun's Corona
This Solar Dynamics Observatory image of the Sun taken on Jan. 10, 2011, in extreme ultraviolet light captures a dark coronal hole just about at Sun center. Coronal holes are areas of the Sun's surface that are the source of open magnetic field lines that head way out into space. They are also the source regions of the fast solar wind, which is characterized by a relatively steady speed of approximately 800 km/s...
Downloads: 15
[image]Spicule Hotspot
Spicules on the sun, as observed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. These bursts of gas jet off the surface of the sun at 150,000 miles per hour and contain gas that reaches temperatures over a million degrees. Credit: NASA Goddard/SDO/AIA › Read more
Downloads: 20
[image]New Sun Viewing Software Available - NASA
New and powerful software makes available online the entire library of images from SDO and the SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory). You can use this online ( or download the viewer and begin exploring the Sun ( The example shown is a combination of SDO's 304 and 171 wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light, not at the highest available resolution, with some cropping and transparency adjustments, and exported from the application...
Keywords: What -- SOHO; What -- Sun; What -- USERS
Downloads: 34
[image]A Swirling Maelstrom - NASA
Swirling plasma observed in extreme ultraviolet light put on quite a show over 4.5 days (Sept. 18-22, 2010). The twisting strands of plasma, seen in profile over the Sun upper left edge, kept up its dynamic activity the whole period. In addition, four prominence eruptions occurred during the same period. The slight, occasional jumps of the Sun were due to the daily orbital passage of the spacecraft these days behind the Earth for a short period each day...
Keywords: What -- Sun; What -- Earth
Downloads: 44
[image]Finely Spun Prominence Eruption - NASA
This eruptive prominence lifted off from the Sun (Sept. 15, 2010) and shows off the strands of plasma in exquisite detail. SDO caught the action in extreme ultraviolet light. Prominences are cooler clouds of gases suspended above the Sun by often unstable magnetic forces. Their eruptions are fairly common, but this one was larger and clearer to see than most.
Keywords: What -- Sun
Downloads: 46
[image]Sun and Moon - NASA
This was a first for SDO and it was visually engaging too. On October 7, 2010, SDO observed its first lunar transit when the new Moon passed directly between the spacecraft (in its geosynchronous orbit) and the Sun. With SDO watching the Sun in a wavelength of extreme ultraviolet light, the dark Moon created a partial eclipse of the Sun. These images, while unusual and cool to see, have practical value to the SDO science team...
Keywords: What -- Moon; What -- Sun
Downloads: 55
[image]Magnetic Field Lines Galore - NASA
The illustration maps the magnetic field lines emanating from the Sun and their interactions superimposed on an extreme ultraviolet image from SDO (Oct. 20, 2010). As one can see, the field lines are most dense around active regions, but they also link to other magnetically active areas across the Sun. These magnetic field maps are a recently added feature to the SDO site. Images for every wavelength each day can be found under ''view latest images'' link on the home page under The Sun Now image...
Keywords: What -- Sun
Downloads: 56
[image]Merging Sunspots - NASA
One core area of Sunspot 1117 emerged, and then edged over and merged with another core area over three days (Oct. 25-27, 2010) to form a much larger, active sunspot region. Portions of sunspot groups can shift over time. Each dark umbra (darkest area) in the October 26 snapshot from the HMI instrument on SDO is as wide as Earth (the daily movie for October 26 is at
Keywords: What -- Snapshot; What -- Earth
Downloads: 44
[image]Swirling Plasma - NASA
A dynamic swirling mass of plasma kept spinning above the Sun's surface for over two days (Oct. 27-28, 2010) as SDO observed the action in extreme ultraviolet light. Not to be outdone, a shorter-lived prominence rose up and blew away into space near the upper left edge of the Sun. Together, they make a nice combination of activity on the ever-changing Sun.
Keywords: What -- Sun
Downloads: 53
[image]Pick of the Week for Nov. 15, 2010 Flashing Flares - NASA
A wide and vigorous active region produced several flares as SDO observed in extreme ultraviolet light (Nov. 11-12, 2010). The tangle of magnetic field lines, made visible by particles spinning along them, connected and reconnected several times. Since the active region is facing towards Earth, it may produce geo-effective events in upcoming days.
Keywords: What -- Earth
Downloads: 34
[image]Snaking Filament - NASA
An elongated filament slithered, stretched and curled around the edge of the Sun as SDO watched in extreme ultraviolet light (Nov. 16-18, 2010). At one point it seems to break in two, but then it re-establishes its continuity. A second filament appears in the left part of the video clip and still too, though it is not as large or active. Filaments are relatively unstable clouds of cooler gases suspended above the Sun by magnetic forces...
Keywords: What -- Sun
Downloads: 35
[image]Arcing Loops - NASA
Arcing loops above an active region put on a slinky-like show for SDO, evidence of the dynamic, magnetic struggles taking place below (Nov. 28-30, 2010). Particles spiraling along magnetic field lines trace their paths as they gracefully shift and change. Magnetic forces in the active region are connecting, breaking apart, and reconnecting. Another active region that rotates into view about halfway through the video clip exhibits similar behavior...
Keywords: What -- TRACE
Downloads: 40
[image]Filament Eruption - NASA
A very long solar filament that had been snaking around the Sun erupted today (Dec. 6, 2010) with a flourish. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) caught the action in dramatic detail in extreme ultraviolet light of Helium. It had been almost a million km long ((about half a solar radius) and a prominent feature on the Sun visible over two weeks ago before it rotated out of view. Filaments are elongated clouds of cooler gases suspended above the Sun by magnetic forces...
Keywords: What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory; What -- Sun; What -- Moon
Downloads: 39
[image]Atlas V Leaps Off the Pad - NASA
With a blinding flash, the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory lifts off Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Launch was at 10:23 a.m. EST Feb. 11. Photo credit: NASA/Sandra Joseph and Tony Gray Feb. 11, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory
Downloads: 6
[image]Into the Clouds - NASA
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory heads into the thin upper-level clouds over Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on a crisp Florida morning. Liftoff was at 10:23 a.m. EST. This is the 100th launch of a commercial Atlas/Centaur rocket. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen and Rusty Backer Feb. 11, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory; Where -- Florida
Downloads: 8
[image]August 1st CME - NASA
On August 1st, almost the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare (white area on upper left), a solar tsunami (wave-like structure, upper right), multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more. This multi-wavelength (211, 193 & 171 Angstrom) extreme ultraviolet snapshot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows the sun's nor...
Keywords: What -- Earth; What -- Sun; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory; What -- Snapshot
Downloads: 25
[image]High Winds Scrub Launch - NASA
At Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, high winds halted the liftoff of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory today. Photo credit: NASA/Jack Pfaller Feb. 10, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory
Downloads: 28
[image]SDO Launches! - NASA
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V with NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, launches from its Space Launch Complex-41 launch pad at 10:23 a.m. EST today. SDO is the first satellite of NASA's Living with a Star program. Photo courtesy of Pat Corkery, United Launch Alliance Feb. 11, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory
Downloads: 29
[image]Headed for Space - NASA
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory heads past the clouds to orbit on a crisp Florida morning from Launch Complex 41 on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 10:23 a.m. EST. This is the 100th launch of a commercial Atlas/Centaur rocket. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen Feb 11, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory
Downloads: 26
[image]Up, Up, and Away! - NASA
Winds aloft affect the contrail of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket carrying NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory into orbit. Photo credit: NASA/Kenny Allen Feb. 11, 2010
Keywords: What -- Atlas; What -- Solar Dynamics Observatory
Downloads: 25
[image]SDO Destroys Sundog - NASA/Goddard/Anne Koslosky
Moments after launch, SDO's Atlas V rocket flew past a sundog hanging suspended in the blue Florida sky and, with a rippling flurry of shock waves, destroyed it. Sundogs are formed by the refracting action of plate-shaped ice crystals. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Anne Koslosky
Keywords: What -- Atlas
Downloads: 30
[image]SDO First Light Press Conference - NASA/Carla Cioffi
This image taken on April 21, 2010 at the Newseum, shows the SDO principles as they address the media at the SDO First Light press conference. Featured in the photo are l to r: at podium, Dwayne Brown, NASA HQ PAO; seated, Dean Pesnell, SDO Project Scientist; Alan Title, Atmospheric Imaging Assembly AIA Principal Investigator PI; Philip H. Scherrer, Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager HMI PI; Tom Woods, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment EVE PI; and Madhulika Guhathakurta, SDO Program Scien...
Keywords: What -- Imager
Downloads: 22
[image]SDO First Light Image - NASA/GSFC/AIA
A full-disk multiwavelength extreme ultraviolet image of the sun taken by SDO on March 30, 2010. False colors trace different gas temperatures. Reds are relatively cool about 60,000 Kelvin, or 107,540 F; blues and greens are hotter greater than 1 million Kelvin, or 1,799,540 F. Credit: NASA/GSFC/AIA
Keywords: What -- Sun; What -- TRACE
Downloads: 56
[image]Solar Flare Activity For First Light - NASA/GSFC/AIA
Images taken by SDO immediately after the AIA CCD cameras cooled on March 30, 2010. This image shows several flares and their associated waves across the Sun. Credit: NASA/GSFC/AIA
Keywords: What -- Sun
Downloads: 63
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